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New Jersey Bill Calls For Internet Gambling Expansion

Proposal Would Not Allow Combining Player Pools For Poker, Though


A new bill in the New Jersey legislature calls for a massive expansion of the existing real-money online gambling in the state, which kicked off late last year.

Senate bill No. 980 would “authorize permits for certain New Jersey casinos for interstate and foreign Internet wagering.” In other words, those who have been approved for intrastate online gambling could elect to expand their offerings, under specific conditions.

The bill must pass the Senate and General Assembly, and then be signed by the governor. Chris Christie has a lot on his plate at the moment due to a scandal, but he is a big supporter of online gambling in the Garden State. It is reasonable to expect him to sign.

Right now, it is sitting with the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. It’s unclear when a vote will be held on the proposal.

According to the bill, there would be an annual tax on interstate or foreign Internet wagering gross revenues in the amount of 15 percent. That money would go to the New Jersey Casino Revenue Fund. In addition, the companies offering games from New Jersey to other jurisdictions must comply with the tax laws and regulations in the other jurisdiction.

All of this would require a partner jurisdiction to have legal web gambling as well.

The legislation would call for New Jersey gaming regulators (The Division of Gaming Enforcement) to draft rules overseeing the expansion of Internet gambling.

All casinos licensees permitted to conduct interstate or foreign Internet wagering must have their servers within Atlantic City. Regulators want to be able to inspect them.

The bill does not mean that online poker players in New Jersey could be playing against players from other countries. In other words, no combined player pools leading to bigger tournaments and more cash game action on a specific site. Ray Lesniak, the sponsor of the bill, told Card Player late last year that “right now, federal law would preclude international players playing online against New Jersey players.”

The bill appears designed for casino firms and their technology partners.

Lesniak wants to make New Jersey the “mecca of Internet gaming.” In other words, a hub that is attractive for firms across the globe. The idea is to get more investment into Atlantic City, which has seen gaming revenues plunge drastically since 2006.

Domestically, just New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have legalized online gambling. There has been the expectation that the three will eventually partner up. More states are expected to take a look at online poker in 2014. Pennsylvania might have the best chance at getting something done, but it’s possible zero legalize this year.